PaxExam Structure, Content & Sections


Reports by AAMC show significant shortfalls in the U.S. nursing workforce, predicting a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025. Numerous studies attribute these shortages to increased RN PAX exam passing scores. The lack of a pax national passing grades aggravates the situation further by allowing individual universities to focus on more stringent in-house admission measures. Our PaxExam experts break down the PAX test structure and explain how to determine composite scores. Learners grappling with fear and anxiety about taking their exams can delegate their PaxExams to our professors to increase their success chances. 

What is PaxExam and Who is the Exam For?

Prospective nurses in the U.S. seeking admission into colleges must take entry exams into their preferred nursing schools. Besides ATI TEAS (Test for Essential Academic Skills), they can take the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination for RN Applicants (NLN-PAX-RN). The PAX RN exam is a standardized exam that assesses the learner’s readiness for nursing school by evaluating their understanding of topics related to nursing and healthcare.

The nursing PaxExam suits:

  1. Foreign-Educated Nurses: Nurses trained in other countries seeking licensure can take the PAX to practice in the U.S.
  2. Learners applying to nursing schools that grant BSN programs
  3. Learners applying to nursing schools to pursue an associate program
  4. Students applying to nursing schools to pursue a diploma program

All PAX examinees receive their official reports at the testing center. Successful applicants can contact the NLN to send their reports to additional institutions where they also seek admission. Unsuccessful applicants can retake the exam three times within 12 months. However, they must wait 60 days to register for a retake successfully.

Content Sections and Question Dynamics

The PAX RN exams have 160 Multiple Choice Questions divided into three sections:

  • Verbal: The verbal PAX section has 60 questions. It assesses the learner’s understanding of reading and comprehension, grammar and language use (word knowledge), and sentence completion. Typical PaxExam verbal questions include determining meanings of words, analyzing passages to derive context, determining sentence structure, or identifying errors in phrasing.
  • Math: The PaxExam’s math section has 40 questions. It assesses the test-taker’s ability to solve word problems and applied math problems. Prominent concepts in the RN PaxExam math sections include geometry, algebra, basic calculations, conversions, fractions, percentages, and integers. Example questions include calculating areas of shapes, using basic algebraic expressions to solve problems, performing arithmetic operations such as ratios, and interpreting fundamental geometry word problems.
  • Science: The RN PAX Science section has 60 questions. It assesses the learner’s understanding of A&P (Anatomy and Physiology), chemistry, physics, general science, and earth science. The most prevalent science concepts tested include cellular structure and cell functions, compounds and chemical reactions, energy and force, and structure and functions of the human system.

Not all RN PaxExam questions count toward the final scores. Some questions are experimental. They count toward evaluating the test integrity and how to make it better in the future. 

How is the PaxExam Scored and What is the Best Composite PAX Score?

The Pre-admission (PAX) scores show up on the applicant’s result tabs within 4 hours of taking the test. This scorecard has a composite score derived from two factors: the number of questions a student got correctly and the percentage correct per section. A typical example of the percentage per section can be 45% correct in the verbal section, 80% correct in math, and 60% correct in the science section.

The institution administering the RN PAX then converts the percentage scores to percentiles. A percentile means a learner’s scores relative to how other test-takers performed. For example, a learner in the 90th percentile performed better than 90% of the students who took the test.

For easy grading, PaxExam has a table representing the number of correct items and the percentiles they represent. Getting 145-199 correct items places a learner in the 99% percentile. Meaning 99% of PAX test-takers score less than 145. 99% percentile on the table represents more than two standard deviations above average.

Getting 117 items correct places the student in the 70th percentile. Meaning 70% of PAX test-takers score less than 117 questions. The RN-PAX is not a pass-or-fail examination, as universities apply their in-house acceptance scores. Percentiles help colleges contextualize an applicant’s performance by providing a sense of their academic standing relative to others. Numerous top-tier universities in the U.S. accept the 50% composite percentile. Thus, getting perfect scores in the PAX can make a learner stand out and improve their acceptance chances among colleges.

Bottom Line

The PaxExam is a critical milestone toward becoming a licensed nurse in the U.S. Understand the question format, develop a study plan, invest in suitable preparation materials, and take timed practice to pass the exam. If you need help with how to approach the exam, contact Best Exam Help Online to take your PaxExam for guaranteed high composite scores.

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